Queen Sales Etiquette Question

Discussion in 'Raising Queens' started by d.magnitude, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Under what circumstances should a queen producer be expected to replace a queen sold to a customer, free of charge?

    Arrives dead? (yes I think)
    Dies in cage in customer's care?
    Bees kill queen upon introduction to customer's hive?
    She's a laying dud? (yes again, I think)
    Superseded quickly?
    Other circumstances?

    What do you guys think? I'd like to hear opinions of queen producers as well as expectations of queen customers out there.

    -Dan
     
  2. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    I'm neither producer nor customer, but I think your two yes's and "other", meaning when a breeder wants to buy a guaranteed customer for 20 bucks. He will normally spend 100 advertising in hopes of getting one, but will he spend 20 to be sure of getting one?
     

  3. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    How about a customer who bought a queen to requeen a laying worker hive? He shook out the hive and intalled the cage. Supposedly, the "heavy" laying workers don't come back, the "light" non-laying workers do. The queen had not been released in 4 days, but he didn't think he saw balling behavior, so he manually released. The bees that had made it back to the hive apparently rejected (killed) the new queen.

    What do you think? Should the producer replace for free?

    I didn't want to get into so much detail, but this is all hypothetical, of course.
     
  4. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I'll put my neck out. Ask the customer whom does he/she think is at fault? Whenever a customer says you were at fault, be magnanimous and replace the queen for free. Such a policy will get you steady customers and your reputation as a reliable supplier will spread by worth of mouth. It's a policy that will pay off in the long run.
     
  5. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Of course everybody is wanting the best bang for their buck and at the very minimum is a well mated queen that will be accepted and have a great laying pattern, raise a brood that is gentle to work, works hard at making honey, overwinters well, booms in the spring time, resistant to mights and knows how to handle SHB.

    Need to be available on the phone and email 24/7 to answer any and all questions, have a web site set up to show off your queens and how you produce them, have a catchy name for the race of bee you are raising (not just mutts), take a credit card and mail out and arrive the same day.

    On a more serious note, good communications and at the minimum a quick reply, nobody likes to be kept hanging. A good product at a fair price with good customer service will have you more business than you can actually handle.
     
  6. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    Dont get me started... If you saw all the problems In had with a nuc this year... I wanted the seller to split the cost of the queen and they still denied ... But reason I feel the seller should replace the queen is really if the queen is as you put it "a laying Dud" .. Spotty laying or like mine mostly drone laying. As for arriving dead,,, i think insurence should be taken and id dead not accecpted upon delevery. Let the sender put in a claim and replace the orginal one. I dont think the other reasons could be blamed on the seller..
     
  7. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    True experiences.....................

    1. I had an argument over .50 with a local merchant. He would not concede. I never went back. He was out of business in less than a year. I must not have been the only one.

    2. I had a customer come to me at a trade show and say he didn't get a discount on his last machine purchase. ""nearly 10,000.00"" I said he didn't ask for one. He said, "Well. I want one." I said, "How much?"
    He replied, 250.00
    I told him to subtract it from the invoice and send a check for the balance.

    Over the years, he spent over a million dollars with me.

    NOW, WHO WAS RIGHT?

    It's not always who is in the wrong, but what your actions will mean in the future.
     
  8. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    It seems to me that Iddee and I are saying the same thing in different words.:smile:
     
  9. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I am pretty much with efmesch on this but on more than one occasion have replaced queens that I was fairly certain were problems created by the buyer. I like to maintain some balance here and at the end of the day 'is that fair' is my primary rule.
     
  10. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks for weighing in everybody.

    I think I'm going to offer my hypothetical customer a replacement, if he wants it. I think that it was actually an introduction problem on his end, which was further complicated by the fact that he was trying to save a laying worker colony (that alone should nullify all warranties).

    It pains me a bit, because this was one of my first queen sales, and I took care to cage up a nice 4+ week old queen with a great laying pattern. But I don't want one of my inaugural sales to be a sour experience, so I'll do what I gotta do.
    ....hypothetically, of course.
     
  11. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    Just be sure he knows another queen in a laying worker hive will be another dead, UNWARRANTED queen.
     
  12. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    I think when it comes to laying worker colonies, everybody's got some scheme that they think might work. They are all a long shot.

    When it comes down to it, it seems like almost everybody talking to me about using a queen has a complicated story to go along with their situation. I do try to be a good listener and offer advice when I can, but remind people that my advice is never foolproof, and hope they understand that they have to take responsibility for their own management decisions.

    I want to make people happy, but I don't think I can make a policy of replacing every queen that doesn't have a successful introduction. Sound fair enough?
     
  13. Iddee

    Iddee New Member

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    If you can look in a mirror and smile, and sleep well at night, you did fine.
     
  14. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    To me the main thing is communication. Like I said if the orginal seller of the nuc would have offered to split the price of the queen i would have been happy and felt like she was trying. Instead, I filed a Smalls Calims case for the Value that NJ states a hive is worth ($250) Plus the value of a honey crop for this year and next year @ the seller price per pound. I figure if I could just get back the Cost of the nuc, Gas and tolls to pick it up I will be happy.
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a classic Iddee snippet...
    If you can look in a mirror and smile, and sleep well at night, you did fine.

    tecumseh:
    that certainly works for me.

    a medic snip...
    I filed a Smalls Calims case for the Value that NJ states a hive is worth ($250)

    tecumseh:
    sadly that is often what you have to do to get some folks attention. I often suspect if folks would meet you half way such remedies wouldn't be necessary.
     
  16. Medic1259

    Medic1259 New Member

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    If she would have it would not got this far.. but her responce that "I was listening to too meny people" was not the right one in my opinion
     
  17. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    arrives dead or is a dud, medic's story is a great example, and an example of someone i would not do business with.
    arrives safe and dies because of keep error, unsuccessful intro, supercedure, etc, no.

    dmagnitude said:
    "The queen had not been released in 4 days, but he didn't think he saw balling behavior, so he manually released. The bees that had made it back to the hive apparently rejected (killed) the new queen."

    i do not manually release a queen for this reason, this is my error. and also "I want to make people happy, but I don't think I can make a policy of replacing every queen that doesn't have a successful introduction. Sound fair enough? "

    sounds fair to me. once the queen is in my care, it is not your responsibility to replace her because she was not successfully introduced by me the beekeeper.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  18. d.magnitude

    d.magnitude New Member

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    Thanks guys, I'll just savor the warm feeling I get when replacing this one.

    Perhaps sales should come with a little conditional statement, even something as simple as mentioning the words: "now introducing her is up to you..."

    I know when I've introduced a queen (especially an expensive one), I get a nervous feeling in the pit of my gut. I assume that's because I know this step is up to me.
     
  19. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    dm,
    how about a sheet, or suggestion on how to introduce the queen? this might be sticky, everyone does this differently and follow your recommendations and it fails! then look to you to replace....'i did what you said', so skip that idea. i think some mention in some form of your conditional statement would be fair. for example a beek friend of mine who has kept bees for 30 years purchased 3 russian hybrid queens and directly released these queens into italian colonies, against my strong advice not to maually release. guess what happened? the italians fastidiously killed all 3 of those queens and guess who he blamed, not himself. he blamed the queen provider for not telling him....it was his error and should have known the stock of queen and the stock of bees with which these were introduced, and failed to do so, or educate himself. assuming folks know this step really is not your responsibility, and maybe say so outright. just my nickel.
    to your point:
    "hope they understand that they have to take responsibility for their own management decisions."
     
  20. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Interesting topic.

    I agree with replacing a dead queen upon arrival or perhaps a drone layer. But introduction problems, killed from bees of the hive they were placed, are not a situation I want to replace queens. And I do not buy the whole....you need to keep customers happy by sucking it up giving away free queens to folks who did splits improperly, or had their queens dead by the management they did in the yard, or by pure ignorance.

    A good question....Do you think all beekeepers are honest?

    I sell on Ebay to beekeepers. If I add delivery confirmation to my packages, I can mail out 100 with no problems at all. If I stop adding delivery confirmation, within the first 5 packages mailed, I will have one that will claim he did not get the package, and demand another.

    How many used car salesman would you say are honest? What about plumbers, car mechanics, or lawyers? And while I think perhaps beekeepers may be more "grounded" than some other more "driven" types out there, you can not expect every beekeeper to be honest.

    One of the reasons we have almost all nuc customers bring a bee suit for nuc pickup, is so we can open each nuc, show the queen, show the pattern, show the frames one by one, as they are placed into their equipment. This does two things. It provides great customer service for new beekeepers who use the time to ask questions, etc. but it also keeps our problems down to near zero complaints. We have tried to have nucs ready for quick pickup in the past, and for every 10 nucs going out the door uninspected by the cistomer, we will have 1 or 2 problems. No queen, not enough bees, or something else.

    With queen orders, my job is to get a queen in your hands, alive and healthy. I can not be held responsible beyond that. I can not be successful replacing queens everytime one gets killed. That is also why we spend the extra effort chatting with beekeepers who order a queen. We ask why they need one. Many times (about 50%) after hearing them explain that they had a swarm last week, or whatever else the story, it is decided that they do not need one. And if I would not have taken the time to explain the details of what they may have in the hive, or asked them to check again, looking for taletell signs, all we would be doing is getting calls from beekeepers who had queens killed in cages.

    I draw the line somewhere near where beekeepers thinks I should be responsible for what happens after they install the queen. A beekeeper who thinks I should replace a queen after it was installed inside a hive and then killed, is not a good customer. I have bent over backwards in the past with problem customers, and at the end of the day trying to make them happy, they just keep demanding, and when they do not get their way, they move on. When a customer has no commonsense, and thinks I am responsible (by demanding I do something) for dead queens upon introductions gone wrong, or even queens claimed bad 6 months later (and yes, that does happen), I normally do not care if they order again. Some beekeepers think that because I sold them a queen or a nuc, that I am responsible for that particular hive for the rest of all time.

    I have even had beekeepers hold me responsible due to not explaining every possible precaution or scenario they should have been known about. I sell queens. I do not need to hold the hand of every beekeeper and be responsible for what happens inside their hives. But I get the sense that sometimes, that is the world we live in. No personal responsibility. It always has to be someone else's fault. Someone else should pay for the mistakes of others. Sorry.....that will not be me. ;)